China will never give an inch of territory: defence minister

Vastavam web: China will never give up an inch of its territory, whether the self-ruled island of Taiwan it claims as its own, or in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, the country’s defence minister said on Thursday. Beijing has been infuriated by recent U.S. sanctions on its military, one of a growing number of flashpoints in ties with Washington that include a bitter trade war, Taiwan and China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea.

China’s military ties with the United States are important and sensitive, Wei said, adding that Taiwan was a “core” interest of China’s and Beijing opposed displays of strength by “outside forces” in the South China Sea. The world’s two largest economies needed to deepen high-level ties so as to navigate tension and rein in the risk of inadvertent conflict, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told his Chinese counterpart last week.

China has been angered by the U.S. sanctions on its military for buying weapons from Russia, and by what Beijing sees as stepped-up U.S. support for democratic Taiwan, which it claims as sacred territory. China has also expressed concern after U.S. President Donald Trump said Washington would withdraw from a landmark Cold War-era treaty that eliminated nuclear missiles from Europe because Russia was violating the pact. On Monday, the United States sent two warships through the Taiwan Strait in the second such operation this year.

Beijing, which has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control, has also viewed U.S. overtures toward the island with alarm, such as a new de facto embassy there and passage of a law to encourage visits by U.S. officials.